When Microsoft revealed its HoloLens mixed reality (MR) head-mounted display (HMD) back in January 2015, it also announced the computing platform that it would run on, Windows Holographic. The world got a closer look at Windows Holographic at the keynote speech at yesterday’s Build conference in San Francisco, California, USA, as the company gave an on-stage demo of HoloLens. Microsoft placed a lot of emphasis on compatibility, revealing that Windows Holographic supports universal Windows 10 apps. As it turns out, the company hopes the platform will also support other HMDs.
Microsoft’s Alex Kipman suggested as much during a talk on the second day of Build. When asked which APIs were specific to HoloLens, Kipman replied: “There’s no such thing as APIs specific to HoloLens. HoloLens is the first, and so far only, holographic computer out there. But that doesn’t mean that it will remain that for a very long period of time. As a matter of fact, I hope that, in the not so distant future, there will be many such devices and then Windows Holographic is the operating system that we put on it, which is just a variant of Windows 10.
There currently aren’t any other HMDs that have been confirmed to support Windows Holographic. It would certainly be interesting to see if any virtual reality (VR) HMDs with follow-through cameras could potentially run the platform in the future. Elsewhere, seemingly similar technologies such as the Magic Leap come up as possible candidates to support Windows Holographic.
Release details for HoloLens sadly weren’t announced at Build. It also remains to be seen if the HMD will fully integrate itself with Microsoft’s videogame console, the Xbox One. That said, several videogame experiences have been showcased with the technology, including some based on the now Microsoft-owned Minecraft franchise. Hopefully news on how HoloLens can enhance videogames will arrive at events such as E3 2015 in June.
VRFocus will continue to follow HoloLens closely, reporting back with the latest updates on the progress.